Why I don’t recommend the Baby K’Tan

Probably seems a little harsh to say about a pretty decent, ergonomic, simple carrier aimed at newborns but I don’t generally recommend the Baby K’Tan for one simple reason – It’s sized.  It does not adjust to fit different sized parents, instead you need to buy the correct size to fit you.  There are a few problems with this:

  1. Unless you and your partner are exactly the same size it’s unlikely you can both use this carrier.  You’d have to buy two – one for you and one for them.  Likewise it might not be possible to share this carrier with anyone else who might carry your baby – grannies, granddads, aunts, nannies etc.  
  2. While this can be a great carrier if you do have the right size for you, many people find they fall between sizes.  Or outside the sizing.  K’Tan actually make a total of 6 sizes, however, at the time of writing this only 3 of these seem to be readily available in the UK.  Small, Medium and Large which apparently correspond to dress sizes 8-10, 12-14 and 16-18 respectively.  But in practise many people who follow this guide still find they end up with a carrier that is slightly too small or slightly too big and as a result can not use the carrier at all. 
  3. If your size changes significantly you may find the carrier no longer fits you.  This might sound unlikely but it’s very common to gain or lose weight quite a bit of weight in the months after birth.  Women’s bodies change loads in the postpartum period and men may find their body shape changes too with the new routine (my marathon running husband put about 8-10 kilos on in the months after the birth of each of our children until sleep and routine settled down enough for him to get back to running as much as he was pre-birth).  
  4. As baby’s size changes you might need to buy a new carrier or find that they no longer fit.  In theory, because the K’Tan is made of stretchy fabric, baby’s size shouldn’t matter.  Bigger children should simply stretch the carrier out more so that the same size carrier that fits the adult should worth whether carrying a newborn or a 1 year old.  However, in practise this is not the case at all – the material just isn’t that stretchy at all and many parents report baby no longer fitting without sizing up.

ktanUltimately, all these problems are solved by having a carrier that is adjustable rather than sized.  

I mean don’t get me wrong, if this carrier does fit you well – if you do have the right size, you don’t lose or gain lots of weight, your partner is the same size as you and your baby doesn’t grow too much (!) this is a really nice carrier.  It gives a lovely snuggly fit that’s perfect for the newborn period and it’s really simple to use.

But those are massive ifs, and the simple fact is there is another carrier on the market that does all the same things, that offers the same carrying position, offers the same ease of use, the same softness AND is adjustable.  And really that is why I don’t recommend the Baby K’Tan – why spend £50 on a Baby K’Tan when you can buy the Close Caboo and have all the pros without the massive cons for £55?

– Madeleine

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Which Caboo? Plus, Organic or Lite/NCT?

Caboo Front View

NCT/Lite Caboo on left, Caboo+ Organic on right

One of the questions I am asked most frequently asked is “What is the difference between the  Caboo+ Organic and the NCT Caboo?”  Usually, I bite my tongue to stop myself replying “about £15”.  Because of course that would be crass! And not particularly helpful as there are a number of differences.  And to make it even more confusing there is also a Caboo+ Cotton Blend and the Caboo DX… and the NCT is about to be re-branded as the Caboo Lite (following the NCT withdrawing their product endorsement last month).  With so many options, of course parents are confused about which to go for.  So in an attempt to give a better answer than “about £15” I thought I would review the Organic and NCT/Lite side by side.

The biggest difference is the material they are made from – different feel, weight and

Caboo backs

Back view – NCT/Lite on left, Organic on the right

width. Both are jersey knit fabrics but while the Organic is 98% organic cotton, 2% polyester, the NCT is 60% cotton and 40% polyester. The material on the Organic is simply hemmed, while the edges of the NCT carrier are bound with a 94% polyester 6% spandex binding tape.

So what does all that percentage mumbo jumbo actually mean?!? What do these carriers actually feel like? The material on the Organic feels thick, warm, soft and snuggly. A lot like a favourite thin cardi, you know the one that almost never goes in the cupboard because you are almost constantly wearing it while you potter around the house.

By contrast the material on the NCT is a lot thinner, cooler and feels a lot like t-shirt material. Its still lovely and soft although the binding doesn’t feel as great (bit like tracksuit bottom material). That said the difference in feel does make it easy to find the edges while putting the baby in, if say you’re not looking in a mirror.  The Organic is a perfect spring, autumn and winter but is definitely a bit too warm in summer. Conversely as the NCT is much cooler and fares much better in the summer but maybe is not as snuggly in the depths of winter.

Caboo widths

Comparing widths, NCT left and Organic on the right

There is also a lot more material on the Organic, each length is 48 cm (19 inches) wide verses a width of only 38 cm (15 inches) on the NCT. Some parents prefer the narrower fabric, especially if they are petite or find too much fabric too warm. While others find that the narrower width makes it harder to spread the material out across the shoulder or flip material over at the shoulder to keep it away from baby’s face. As this is the material that spreads around the baby and holds them knee to knee, a baby is more likely physically to grow out of the NCT carrier quicker than the Organic.

IMG_3006

Flat shots!  Caboo Organic on the left this time

The final main difference is in the support panels. Both are made from the same fabric as the main carrier and have a pouch the whole carrier can be tucked into. For the NCT this pouch is formed of mesh material helping to keep this carrier on the lightweight and cooler side. For the organic this pouch is formed of another layer of the same thick material, but does benefit from having a small pocket for a set of keys/card wallet etc, as well as a collar to provide additional head support. This additional head support is really nice and helps this carrier be truly ‘hands free’ (so often you see parents with similar carriers cradling their baby’s head as their carrier doesn’t provide enough head support…).

But what about the Caboo+ Cotton Blend and the Caboo DX I mentioned at the start?  The Blend is very similar to the Organic, its just made from non organic cotton.  In terms of thickness, feel etc its near enough identical.  The DX on the other hand is probably the craziest, over-engineered thing I have ever seen.  It has this crazy ‘pod’ that feels like neoprene that clips over the top… I have had several clients come with one who find it simply way too much faff and I have to agree with them!  I tried one on at a baby show and asked the rep what the point of it was and they said (in a surprised voice) “Oh well, it appeals to dads, dads like the extra security”.  Bearing in mind that the DX costs £35 more than the NCT I would urge any Dad to avoid falling into this gender stereotyping trap!  I’ve never met a Dad whose had a problem with the NCT or the Organic, in fact most really love them… but I have met more than a few Dad’s completely and utterly baffled by the DX!

So coming back to the NCT and the Organic – which is my favourite? Its hard to tell, it’s quite a personal choice and definitely more to consider than the price difference (although maybe that’s just always my priority…?). Best way to tell which would work best for you… go to your local library or contact your local consultant and try them both on!!

-Madeleine

(Credit to Melissa Branzburg for taking the photos and proof reading).